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Columns by Fred Reed

On Generals Testifying Before Congress
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Fred Reed 2008-04-14 16:00
Whenever I see that some dismal general will testify to Congress regarding the war against Iraq, I imagine the first paragraph of his Power Point presentation: 'All metrics show a downsurge in the violence in Iraq, and a continuing improvement in indicators of the production of a better life. Next slide. The Iranians are aiding the enemies of America, and must be bombed. This is a recording.'
A Dog to Its Vomit
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Fred Reed 2008-03-12 17:00
Common delusions notwithstanding, the United States, I submit, is not a democracy'by which is meant a system in which the will of the people prevails. Rather it is a curious mechanism artfully designed to circumvent the will of the people while appearing to be democratic. Several mechanisms accomplish this.
A Dog to Its Vomit
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Fred Reed 2007-08-23 16:00
August 24, 2007 I have just returned from two weeks in Washington and find myself almost giggling with despair, or perhaps chortling at the madness. I need a bottle of Padre Kino, maybe laced with Haldol.
A New Improved America
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Fred Reed 2007-05-22 16:00
Something is wrong with the United States. I think most of us have noticed it. There is a mortal rot in the country, made manifest by many little rots that are hard to integrate mentally yet are, I think, somehow related. The change is grave, accelerating, probably irreversible, and fascinating. Things are not as they were.
The Avoidance of Honor
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Fred Reed 2007-04-17 16:00
It amuses me to hear people talking about their 'honor,' when they don't have any and it probably doesn't exist. If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, honor is the first. Actually, as character defects they are about equally reprehensible.
The Ganglia of Four
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Fred Reed 2007-03-26 16:00
Methinks we don't'think, I mean, about anything outside our immediate visual horizon. Thinking is a poor way of understanding the world, which is too complex to be thought about effectively. That leaves hormones and unfortunate limbic wiring.
Reflections on a Solemn Ass
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Fred Reed 2007-03-14 17:00
I usually regard liberals and conservatives as equally but not identically reprehensible, rather like the complementary halves of a migraine headache. Some differences do stand out. Peculiar to conservatives is a certain tribalism, often accompanied by subclinical paranoia. They seem to be looking fearfully about as the wolves circle closer. It doesn't matter whether there actually are any wolves.
Fred: A True Son of Tzu
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Fred Reed 2007-01-24 17:00
Being a military thinker of the profoundest sort, I offer the following manual of martial affairs for nations yearning to copy the American way of war. Read it carefully. Great clarity will result. The steps limned below will facilitate disaster without imposing the burden of reinventing it. The Pentagon may print copies for distribution.
It Floats
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Fred Reed 2006-12-17 17:00
It's all but official: The war in Iraq is lost. Report after leaked report says so. Everybody in Washington knows it except that draft-dodging ferret in the White House. Politicians scurry to avoid the blame. One day soon people will ask aloud: How did we let 3000 GIs die for the weak ego of a pampered liar and his desperate need to prove he's half the man his father was? The troops from now on...
A Bush in Need of Pruning
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Fred Reed 2006-10-11 16:00
I miss the days of smoke-filled rooms when crooked pols chose corrupt presidential candidates who were approximately sane. Today we have a sort of presidential bus-station lottery. We choose as ruler any beer-hall putz who can shake hands and grin his way successfully through New Hampshire. This, plus the deep rot of the American political framework, is allowing the rapid conversion of the United...
"Not Today, Sir."
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Fred Reed 2006-10-01 16:00
When, one wonders, will mutiny begin among the troops in Iraq? Recently I talked by email about the war with Jim Coyne, an airborne-infantry friend who served two tours as a gunship door-gunner in Viet Nam and then made a career in journalism. I asked, 'Do they [I meant the officer corps, the official military] actually believe the optimistic twaddle this time around? Do they really not know what...
What's Fred Smoking?
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Fred Reed 2006-09-24 16:00
Letters pour in from desperate readers (or would if they did) saying, 'Fred, explain America today. Say something tendentious and irritating about what is going on in this curious country. Why do we do what we do? Sock it to us.' All right.
Julius Streicher, Catharine MacKinnon, Jesse Jackson, And David Duke
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Fred Reed 2006-08-17 16:00
I found myself some time ago under social circumstances in a group that included an angry radical feminist, which is to say a radical feminist. Out of nowhere that I remember, she announced, 'Men are sexist pigs.' Such assertions are par for the species.
Conservation of Parody
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Fred Reed 2006-08-07 16:00
I'm wondering. Help me wonder. Either Georgie Bush is the minor, depressing, witless ferret I think he is, or I am. It has to be one or the other. If things don't start looking up pretty soon internationally, I'm going to be pretty sure which.
A Modest Proposal to Abolish Universities
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Fred Reed 2006-07-24 16:00
I think it is time to close the universities, and perhaps prosecute the professoriat under the RICO act as a corrupt and racketeering-influenced organization. Universities these days have the moral character of electronic churches, and as little educational value. They are an embarrassment to civilization. I know this. I am sitting in my office in Jocotepec, consorting with a bottle of Padre Kino...
On Recent Wars
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Fred Reed 2006-05-17 16:00
People ask how we got into our splendid mess in Iraq and why we can't get out. The question is a subset of a larger question: Why, since WWII, have so many first-world armies gotten into drawn-out guerrilla wars in bush-world countries, and lost? Examples abound: France in Vietnam, America in Vietnam, France in Algeria, Russia in Afghanistan, Israel in Lebanon, etc. Why don't they learn? The...
In Search of Darkness
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Fred Reed 2006-02-16 17:00
The other day I found myself trapped next to the lobotomy box in the house of a friend. The show was one of those dismal productions based on sexual innuendo, the sort that I would have found titillating when I was eleven. The format was not complex. Neither, I suspect, was the audience. Several shapeless young couples sat together.
A Colony Again
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Fred Reed 2006-01-18 17:00
I'm going to start a rickshaw factory. It's so our kids will have a way to make a living, now that America is pulling out of the First World. Maybe I'll put an iPod socket on the poles or a little tiny television, made in Japan. That way our puzzled offspring won't inadvertently start thinking. Tradition provides an anchor in the circumambient chaos. See, what's going to happen is, all the...
Thoughts Unthunk, Mostly
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Fred Reed 2005-12-13 17:00
I am persuaded that the gravest catastrophes to afflict this misguided planet were the inventions of agriculture, clean water, and antibiotics. Without these pernicious conceptions our squalid race might consist of a few millions of savages picking bananas and slaughtering the occasional bison. I do not say this in criticism of savages. Theirs was a reasonable existence. I like bananas, which...
Getting Apart
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Fred Reed 2005-12-08 17:00
Explain it to me, diversity. I don't get it. Everyone in the feddle gummint and all the news weasels and the academia nuts and assorted distasteful do-gooders with goiterous self-admiration are always honking and blowing about how we need diversity. Why? What is it good for? I think we need homogeneity. Probably the greatest desire of humanity other than getting sex is avoiding diversity....
Soldiers and Reporters
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Fred Reed 2005-12-04 17:00
Much email comes my way, from military folk both current and retired, assuring me that the press consists of leftist commy anti-American liberal tree-hugging cowardly backstabbers who probably like the French and would date Jane Fonda. It is an old song. Having spent decades covering the armed forces, I have seen much of the Pentagon and the press. Things are a tad more complex. A few thoughts...
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers
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Fred Reed 2005-10-23 16:00
I begin to think that Mothers Against Drunk Drivers constitute a public nuisance, and need to be stuffed down an abandoned oil well. And indicted for fraud. We could dangle a microphone down the well on a wire so that they could testify. These tiresome biddies aren't against drunk driving, which anyone with a possum's brains is against. Your dangerous drunks are incorrigibles who time and...
Diving Into the Third World
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Fred Reed 2005-10-04 16:00
I'm thinking about turning into a Marxist. Ol' Karl used to talk about these irresistible currents of history that just swept you along and you couldn't do anything about'em, like the current that swept communism mostly out of existence. (He may have had some other currents in mind.) I'm looking at what's happening in the US. It's gotta be an irresistible current. It couldn't be on purpose...
A Grand Adventure
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Fred Reed 2005-09-19 16:00
A friend recently asked me what I would tell a young man thinking about enlisting in the military. (He had in mind his son.) I would tell him this, which I wish someone had told me: Kid, you are being suckered. You are being used. You need to think carefully before signing that enlistment contract. First, notice that the men who want to send you to die were draft-dodgers. President...
Vienna and Chicago: Friends or Foes?
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Fred Reed 2005-09-15 16:00
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION In late September, 1994, Henri Lepage asked me to address the Mont Pelerin Society in Cannes, France. The title was "I Like Hayek," an appreciation of the principal founder of the Society in 1947. I thought the subject would be well received, but I was mistaken. Over a dozen attendees lined up to take issue with my favorable comments about Hayek's capital theory and...